Japan will further tighten its border controls from Saturday by requiring all people arriving to submit negative results from virus tests taken within 72 hours of their departure for Japan during the period of the latest state of emergency.

The measure will apply to those entering Japan from Wednesday and be effective until a second state of emergency that was declared Thursday is lifted, the Foreign Ministry said. The government said the emergency declaration will run through Feb. 7.

Businesspeople and students from Taiwan and 10 Asian nations including mainland China and South Korea are currently allowed to enter under a special scheme aimed at easing travel restrictions.

Those from regions other than 152 nations and regions subject to an entry ban are also able to enter Japan at present.

But under the latest scheme, these people will also need to turn in negative result from a virus test taken within 72 hours of their departure and take another test upon arrival, the ministry said.

The new rule comes after Japan introduced stricter measures in late December for new entries by foreigners from around the world for business and study, in response to the detection of new variants of the coronavirus announced in Britain.